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Montreal Adventure:

 

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I had gone to Montreal to enjoy this lovely piece of France in North America.  The downtown area is different from what I am used to in the "lower 48."  It was clean, gave the feeling that it is safe and was full of friendly people.  The restaurants and clubs  were friendly and very inexpensive due to a favorable exchange rate.

 

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The real treat of the trip and secretly the genuine reason for the trip was an opportunity to "shoot the rapids" on the St. Laurence river.  There are a number of companies that provide adventure tours.  The one that I selected was approximately 30 miles outside of the city.  It has custom-built jet-powered aluminum boats that are very self- bailing.  When I first saw them on the river I was a little skeptical -- they have no transom!  The design of new high speed racing sailboats calculated to let any water that gets into the boat to drain overboard - quickly.  It certainly works.  We took many a wave right over the bow but the boat drained very quickly.  

The tour operators make a big thing of how large the waves are and how dangerous and while they are not as large or as dangerous as advertised they need to be respected.  After the first hit I realized that just like on a sailboat when you see the water coming at you - get your head down.  It was a blast - what they are doing is diving the boats into the side of the turbulence created by the [rapids] rocks in the river.  This may sound dangerous until you realize that:

there were two boats acting as a team,

the senior operator appeared to be the following vessel,

they had a number of "routes' established.  It took about 10 minutes to spot certain marks such as certain rocks on the shore line that were always visible, etc.

The boat operators were masters of the overstatement.  For instance, they told us how lucky we were that the water temperature was really warm  Well to someone from Florida, 55 degrees or less seemed VERY cold!  They had given everyone rubber suits that appeared to be water-tight and were.  Unfortunately this did not stop the water from entering around your neck.  My suit was so water-tight that when I raised my arm all of the (55 degree) water that was trapped in the elbow area of the waterproof rubber suit flowed down my whole body. 

I have found that we do not know how much fun we are having until it is over.  That is exactly what happened on the St. Lawrence.  Like an audience at a good play or concert, we were headed back to the docks much too soon. 

Yes -- it really was fun.  

 

 

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